Budget cuts lead HISD teachers to play multiple roles

by: Neelay Patel

 

In a development recently highlighted by the Houston Chronicle, schools are cutting back on generally less valued positions. Librarians, art and music teachers, and physical education teachers are gradually being forced to seek other jobs. History or math teachers with a knack for sports are offered coaching positions. Rather than hire a person with a degree in that specific field or relevant job experience, schools are able to save money by assigning teachers to multiple roles.

Librarians may attribute their lost jobs to schools and teachers integrating web tools and digital content into their course curricula. Students are often using computer tablets to access textbooks and homework assignments. As a result, HISD officials are considering conversion of libraries. With teachers and students relying much more on technology than in previous years, we are witnessing a shift from print materials to electronic information.

Many librarians have adapted and learned the intricacies of browsing online databases in order to help students find textbooks or online sources for research papers. However, teachers with some training and practice may perform those tasks just as well. Some schools have also assigned librarians to instructional roles in attempt to keep their jobs. Over the past four years, HISD has shown a 40% drop in the number of certified librarians, according to the Texas Education Agency.

 

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About the author:

Neelay Patel is a staff writer for Thesis Magazine, focusing on Houston Schools and Health & Science. Since graduating from Texas A&M, Neelay has been a math and science tutor for General Academic.

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